New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to lay the foundation stone for the construction of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya Friday, after the Supreme Court last year granted the disputed 2.77-acre piece of land to the Hindu parties.
This piece of land is where the Babri Masjid stood until 6 December 1992, when it was demolished by kar sevaks.
Over 1.5 lakh kar sevaks were present in Ayodhya at the time. Several also visited the site later, and one of them, Raja Babu Singh, is now a senior IPS officer.
Singh, ADG (community policing) at police headquarters in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, told ThePrint that he neither participated in the demolition nor witnessed it, but he did offer a brick for the makeshift structure, and sought blessings of the deity within, the child-form of Lord Rama, known as ‘Ram Lalla’.
“I was a student in Allahabad University and living in a one-room rented accommodation in Daraganj area of what was then Allahabad (now Prayagraj). The RSS Daraganj unit had arranged a bus to take a few young people from Daraganj to Ayodhya for kar seva,” said Singh.
Singh recalled that when he visited, all the kar sevaks were made to stay in one big temple hall, without proper bedding etc.
“We slept on a thin mat on the floor and spent the night shivering and battling the cold. The next morning, we first took a dip in the Saryu river and then went to have ‘divya darshan’ (holy sighting) of Ram Lalla perched atop the brick debris of the fallen old structure, covered by a makeshift cloth canopy,” the IPS officer said.
Singh added that his brief glimpse of Ram Lalla was a very intense emotional moment. “I was 25 years old. There was a thrill and excitement in going for kar seva,” Singh said.
‘Ayodhya is the pride of India’
Singh said he had joined an RSS shakha in his native village in Uttar Pradesh’s Banda district for a few months when he was young, but it was more for “early morning exercises and fun with friends”.
Singh, a farmer’s son, then went on to clear the University Grants Commission’s Junior Research Fellowship in his first attempt, and then the UPSC exam in his third attempt. He is an avid reader with a personal collection of over 5,000 books, and frequently pens down articles on on subjects ranging from regenerative farming and water management to the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga and Ayurveda.
Singh previously served as ADG and IG of the Gwalior zone, after having been on central deputation with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police until September 2017.
The IPS officer also recently hosted the head of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, at his Gwalior residence. He will not be attending the bhoomi pujan ceremony in Ayodhya Wednesday, but is happy that the temple is finally being built.
“The whole country, across all sections of society, is rejoicing, so why shouldn’t I? Ayodhya is our cultural centre, our pride, and the pride of the whole country,” he said.